The impact of dietary patterns, nutrition, and physical activity on cancer development has been the topic of study by many scientists in an attempt to identify potential contributors to the disease, and those exposures that might slow/prevent disease development and help with treatment. Studies have included preclinical models of various cancer forms, population studies, and clinical studies. Capturing all of this information and distilling the knowledge to a point where it is possible to make public health recommendations were necessary. Clinton and colleagues describe the work that has been occurring to address this need in a critical review published in the April 2020 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Expert panels were organized by The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research to review the literature and summarize our existing knowledge. The first report of the work was published in 1998 and a second report was published in 2007. There have been multiple continuous update reports published for specific cancers since that time. In 2018, a summative continuous update report was published that updated the findings found in previous reports. This last publication incorporated a more integrative approach that addressed the benefits and negative impacts of dietary and exercise patterns. Clinton and colleagues conclude their review by stating the current report can be used to support informed healthy policies, yet demonstrates the need for greater support of cancer prevention efforts.

References Clinton SK, Giovannucci EL, Hursting SD. The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research third Expert Report on Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer: Impact and future directions. Journal of Nutrition, DOI:

Images credit: